How omega-3 can help improve mood

Published November 28, 2014

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Omega-3 fatty acids are good for your body as well as the mind. They’re highly concentrated in the brain and play an important role in normal brain function and mood. Around 50‐60% of the brain is made up of fats, one‐third of which is from the omega-3 family.

Omega-3 fatty acids appear to affect brain function in various ways. They have the ability to alter the properties of neurons (specialised nerve cells) and affect neurotransmission, the way neurons communicate with one another. Optimal levels of omega-3 can also influence the transport of serotonin, a “feel good” brain chemical that helps support normal mood and behaviour. Furthermore, a reduction in omega 3 consumption appears to increase the risk of despondency in some people.1

Omega-3 supplementation and mood

Various clinical studies have investigated the role omega-3 supplementation plays in mood. In one trial, omega-3 was found to increase vigour and general wellbeing, support cognition, memory and concentration, provide symptomatic relief of mood swings and temporary relief of mild anxiety, irritability and fatigue.2 In other trials, the omega-3 fatty acids EPA (Eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (Docosahexaenoic acid) have been found to be beneficial during times of stress and to assist in the management of mood swings.1

Fish and fish oil are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids and therefore good “mood food”. If you would like to support your brain function and mood, consider increasing your oily fish consumption and/or taking a fish oil supplement.

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